The five 55-passenger motor coaches carrying the children were stopped at the gates of Arlington National Cemetery as they were leaving. This followed calls from DMV to local and U.S. Park Service police that buses’ registrations and insurance had expired in late March. The buses were all put out of service.
Students remained on the parked buses until school officials arranged for alternate transportation. DMV and the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are investigating the incident. The Northford, CT, company that was transporting students in the unregistered and uninsured buses is known as ABC, Affordable Bus Charter, Inc.
“We are very glad that students are fine, that nothing happened to anyone and that they can continue on their school trip,” said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey, who has been in contact with school officials about the incident.
“For the safety of the children involved, DMV’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Division took action quickly to have the buses stopped because of this violation of state laws,” she added.
DMV’s review of these motor coaches, which are not the large yellow school transportation buses, began after reports from Fairfield school transportation supervisor. He sent an e-mail to the agency Tuesday about a possible problem with the buses, which had left Fairfield early in morning for Washington.
DMV then checked the bus records provided from the Fairfield school transportation official. Based on that quick review, DMV found that on March 31, 2011, the registrations had expired and had not been renewed.
That same review also found that insurance had been canceled in late March, too. Reviews of the bus drivers’ licenses found that the five had currently valid licenses for operating the vehicles.
DMV and federal officials today went to the bus company, which is located at 1071 Middletown Ave., to review company records and files. The company has a vehicle out-of-service rating of 22.4 percent while the national average is 20.72 percent and a driver out-of-service rating of 15 percent while the national average is 5.51 percent.
The state and federal in-depth review includes examining maintenance files, inspection records, safety programs, driver licensing and training files, proper equipment on the buses and other federal and state requirements for operating motor coaches.
The company, which has six motor coaches used for charter service, also provides livery service.
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